A high fault coverage, instruction modeled self-test for a signal processor in a user environment is disclosed. The self-test executes a sequence of sub-tests and issues a state transition signal upon the execution of each sub-test. The self-test may be combined with a watchdog activity monitor (WAM) which provides a test-failure signal in the presence of a counted number of state transitions not agreeing with an expected number. An independent measure of time may be provided in the WAM to increase fault coverage by checking the processor's clock. Additionally, redundant processor systems are protected from inadvertent unsevering of a severed processor using a unique unsever arming technique and apparatus.